An Iranian refugee at Nauru claims he was slashed in the head with a large knife normally used to cut down coconuts, in an alleged attack that raises further doubt over of the safety of refugees on the island.
Nauruan police say there is no physical evidence of an attack and the refugee refused to provide a statement to police. This is despite the emergence of photos purportedly showing the man’s injuries, and an unverified police statement sighted by Fairfax Media.
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The man, who lives in the Nauruan community, told Fairfax Media he did not wish to be identified for fear of worrying his family in Iran.
He alleged that he was leaving his home on Saturday evening when he was attacked by two Nauruan men riding a motorbike.
The refugee claimed the men approached him from behind, and one hit him with a large “knife to cut a coconut”, similar to a machete.
He says one alleged perpetrator said “f— refugees” and both men laughed before riding off.
The refugee said the alleged attack was unprovoked, and he believed it was carried out “for fun”.
He claims to have lost about one litre of blood and attended hospital, where he received multiple stitches. Photos purportedly of the alleged victim show a long gash along the back of his head.
The refugee said he called police later that night and was told to attend the police station another day.
The man said the alleged attackers returned to his home the following night, and he escaped by locking himself inside. He claims to have later made a statement to police reporting both incidents. An unverified copy of this statement, dated March 7, has been sighted by Fairfax Media.
In a statement, a Nauru Police Force spokeswoman said it received a complaint by a man who said he was hit with a steel object, adding police “responded immediately”.
The spokeswoman said the man “refused to allow police to conduct a medical examination, provided no other details and refused to provide a statement to police or co-operate with any investigation. There was no obvious physical evidence of any attack.”
“Police conclude that this complaint was made for media exposure only and has no basis,” she said.
The alleged victim rejected the claims, saying he showed police his injureies and provided them with photos.
A Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesman said the allegation was “a matter for the Nauruan Police Force”.
There have been growing fears about the safety of refugees living at Nauru who have been subject to a string of alleged attacks.
They include two gay refugees who say they are virtually prisoners in their home after repeated bashings due to their sexual orientation. Homosexuality is illegal in Nauru.